Tuesday 31 January 2012

Priorslee lake - Caspian Gull

I finally caught up with the adult Caspian Gull today during a brief lunchtime visit. Shame the Glauc didn't put in an appearance too!

Never close, it was announcing it's presence on the water as Caspian Gulls do...

A wingflap or serious preen would do nicely to confirm and even better, I got flight!

That will do nicely.....

Sunday 29 January 2012

Stubbers Green - Iceland Gull

Remember what I said...... always go back (within reason). I did, at least for the morning and luckily for me - so did the 3rd Winter Iceland Gull! A totally different overcast day, better suited for Gulls but I never had the Iceland that close. Oh well, at least it didn't depart straight away today.......

First of all, on terra firma. More record shots I'm afraid!

Before taking to the water....

A few wingflaps here and there!

Best of the bunch.....

Before flying off.....

No Caspian today but I shall be taking in Priorslee lake on occasions....

Saturday 28 January 2012

Stubbers Green - Caspian and Ice

With annual leave all gone, I'm having to fit my intended sessions into the weekend and this was to be my last full one for quite some time! Sensing I wouldn't get there again this Winter, I opted for Stubber's Green and some Gull action?

I got the intended Gull I was after too, within 45 minutes of arrival when (all too briefly) this subadult Iceland Gull dropped in - looks to be a 3rd Winter bird with some faint brown patterning clearly still present in the coverts.

A quick wash, wingflap amd then gone....

I walked down the pool to check whether it had truly left the site and on my return, was greeted by an adult Caspian Gull!

Just this single bird in today and it lingered most of the day

Showing off it's primary finery.....

Despite shooting into the afternoon sunlight, the typical primary tip pattern showing well here with black extending to P5 and the 'tongues' - black strikingly concentrated on the outer webs

With no les than 7 species of Gull on show, Stubbers has to be one of the best locations and these two Gulls were the stars of the show!

Saturday 21 January 2012

Hampshire - double act

Two lifers lurking in Hampshire meant a long journey beckoned and with Rob Stokes up for a couple of 'megas' we hit the road first thing......

The New forest and Hawkhill Inclosure was the first destination and the the Dark-eyed Junco. We arrived at 9.15 and had a nervy 45 minutues of 'no show' until it finally revealed itself! Not exactly posing though but I'm never worried about feather detail where lifers are concerned - seeing the bird is all that matters!

It was found amongst an uprooted conifer about 50m away (middle right of the image below) as we all kept to the track!

Eventually it relocated to the area it usually favours and was immediately tossing leaves to one side as it searched for seed, I presume the locals have been seeding this area?

Strictly record shots but we were all getting decent views now!

A brief and reasonably close view on a stump was the best we got before it promptly flew off! Rob and I gave it at least an hour of staking out - hoping it would return? It didn't :-(

Next up was the headlining Spanish Sparrow and this was an absolute nightmare! The police 'no parking' cones were still present in force and there were only 20 or so birders on site and no Sparrow! After watching hedges and House Sparrows for 30 minutes or so, we were tempted by the door of number 41. The occupants have been allowing a steady stream of birders to view their feeders since the news was put out. The bird regularly shows here.....So, shoes off, in we went!

Another 30 minutes or so passed.... This was beginning to take on a dippy feel until the call went up - it's in the garden round the corner!

Shoes on...... run, run, run..... Taking in the new surroundings.....

Thank goodness I keep myself fit, next challenge was to find it amongst the hordes of House Sparrows! It had flown out of the garden before we arrived but soon (briefly) returned and 'phew' - here's the record shot of it's return!

It then flew deep into the nearby hedge next and after another 30 mins slowly edged into view. Now I was getting good views, this was one seriously smart Sparrow!! The pristine white cheeks with contrasting black breast/flanks and chestnut brown crown were something to behold! Sadly there was always a leaf or two in the way!

See what I mean, one very smart Sparrow!

Too much time had been wasted to get over to the Ring-billed Gull at Gosport so we stuck it out, hoping for better views? The result, fleeting pre-roost glimpses in a hedge....

Before it flew off to roost (and that was the last we saw of it!)

Never mind, two lifers and the 330's are looming soon?

Sunday 15 January 2012

Always go back! - Shorties once more

It doesn't necessarily pay off to return to the scene of a good day's birding but I took the chance an even better display would be on the cards today! I'd decided to try a change of tactic by sitting in the car away from the main gallery and hoping for a 'fly past'?

Four hours later at 3.30, it had been a complete no show and whilst nearly nodding off, I was beginning to question the decision.....

Then, at 3.40, one Shortie got up and started to hunt. It wasn't long before it was looming larger in the viewfinder (a few cropped images on the closer images).

Ever nearer......

Eyes gleaming in the warm glow of the setting sun!

Eventually it was quartering right in front of me, I missed a lot (it was not easy from the car to keep up with such a fast manoeuvreable subject with a 500mm lens!)

I'll settle for these though?

What a moment :-)

Finally, moving into the direction of the light as the sun set....

Good night!